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218             A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
This incident made so powerful an impression on the young man's mind that his whole character was changed and he became a devoted student of things psychic and spiritual.
I could not tear myself away from the stone seat, but sat in wondering reflection and uneasy speculation in the silent society of these stone divinities.
A half-hour passed in this way, and then I must have fallen into some kind of reverie.
A shroud seemed to fall from before my eyes, my attention concentrated itself on a point midway between iny eyebrows; after which an unearthly light enveloped me.
Within that light I saw a brown-skinned masculine figure with raised shoulders, standing sideways near me. And as I gazed upon him, he turned and confronted me.
I trembled with the shock of recognition.
For that figure was myself.
He bore precisely the same face that I bear to-day, but the dress was that of ancient Egypt. He was neither prince nor commoner, but a priest of a certain rank. I knew that at once by his head-dress and robe.
The light spread out rapidly around him, and far beyond— spread until it took in a vivid scene about an altar. Then the figure of my vision bestirred himself and strode slowly towards that altar, and when he reached it, prayed . . . and prayed . . . and prayed. . . .
And whilst he walked, I went with him; and when he prayed, I prayed with him, too—not as a companion but as himself. I was both spectator and actor in this paradoxical vision. I found that he was grieved at heart, sorrowful over the condition of his country, sad at the decadence which had descended upon his ancient land. Most of all, he was unhappy about the evil hands into which the leadership of his religion had fallen. Again and again, in his prayers, he Begged the old gods to save the truth tor his people. But at the end of his petitions his heart was as heavy as lead. For no response came and he knew that Egypt's doom was irrevocable. He turned away with downcast face; sad, sad, sad.
^The light melted back into darkness; the priestly figure disappeared, and the altar with him; I found myself in solitary meditation near the Temple of Ptah once more. My own heart, too, was sad, sad, sad.
Was this merely some dream suggested by the environment ?